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The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

The Student News Site of Palo Alto High School

The Paly Voice

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2012: A take on the year in review

With the arrival of December, 2012 is officially coming to a close. Before the year passes, The Paly Voice asks you to take a step back and scroll through some highlights (and lowlights) of the year, and reflect upon the many events that have occurred around Palo Alto High School.


Paly sports teams continued their tradition of success in 2012. Last school year the baseball team made it to the Central Coast Section semifinals for the third consecutive year. In the spring the Oakland Athletics drafted B.J. Boyd, a member of the team, to play for them. During this school year both the volleyball and football teams captured league titles.

Sports teams also introduced new fashions – the water polo boys donning straw hats on Game Days, the Boys’ varsity soccer team with its yearly tradition of grotesque haircuts and many other out-of-the-ordinary fashion choices.

Quarterback Keller Chryst throws a pass downfield in Paly’s CCS playoffs loss to Junipero Serra High School on Nov. 16. Chryst led the way for the Vikings with two touchdowns passes and two rushing touchdowns. “I’m proud of the way we played tonight, we just couldn’t get the win,” Chryst said. Photo by Matt Ersted.

School life:

Peppered with countless fire alarms at seemingly the most inconvenient times, this year boosted an enormous number of disruptions. In addition, December’s flooding left it nearly impossible to get to class without sporting wet shoes and socks for the rest of the day (if you didn’t wear rain boots). Town and Country Shopping Center saw the closure of many loved restaurants, notably Korean Barbeque and Hobee’s. This prompted us to publish an editorial condemning the closing of such places.

Students had trouble getting to class on time due to flooding from heavy rainfall Nov. 28 on Paly campus. The administration placed wooden planks to serve as bridges over some of the deeper puddles. “It was definitely crazier than I’ve ever seen it,” sophomore Riley Cassidy said. Photo by Levi Schoeben

Social media:

Yes, underclassmen girls progressively chalked up more and more likes on their Facebook profile pictures this year. However, a new form of amusement emerged this fall: The “Paly Problems” Tumblr page. Filled with countless animations seemingly portraying Paly life very accurately, this page was is constantly updated and constantly viewed. From this page, one highlight post followed the Turkey Trot, where a picture described the lines as “madness.”

School policy:

The start of the 2012-2013 school year saw some adaptations in policies. A new grade report policy was enacted requiring teachers to update Infinite Campus grades every four weeks to increase teacher-student communication. Another notable change came this semester in the Saturday School policy. Saturday School is no longer a mandatory consequence for cutting class, and aims to assist struggling students instead. The 2012-2013 school year also debuted Schoology, an online hub for all class assignments and information.

New schedule:

The first year of the implementation of the new calendar is almost half over. The changes brought by the calendar included an abnormally short summer in this transition year and an earlier beginning of school on Aug. 16. Finals will be before winter break and school will end in May. Many students were unhappy with the new schedule at the beginning of the year, yet whether the reward of a stress-free winter break will counteract the dissent is yet to be determined.


The 2012 election was a big one. Barack Obama was re-elected, marijuana was legalized for the first time for recreational uses in Colorado and Washington and same-sex marriage was legalized in Maryland, Maine and Washington by popular vote. The Palo Alto City Council filled its four seats with Pat Burt, Marc Berman, Greg Schmid and Liz Kniss. The School Board race resulted in the election of Heidi Emberling and the re-election of Camille Townsend and Melissa Baten-Caswell.

The turn out is minimal just after noon at the Palo Alto High School Tower Building polling place. Eligible students and recent alumni of Palo Alto High School cast their first votes during the Nov. 6 election. “I am so excited that I got to be a part of such a big election during my first year as an eligible voter,” Paly alumna Bailey Cassidy (Class of 2012) said. Photo by Levi Schoeben

Spirit Week:

Spirit Week, the most anticipated week of the Paly fall, found — big surprise! — the seniors victorious, followed by the juniors, then the sophomores and the freshmen bringing up the rear. After last year’s controversy in which “unity points” rearranged the scores at the last minute, the Associated Student Body bolstered its attempts at being “transparent” in the point calculations this year. Whether ASB succeeded in its goal at transparency remains a debate between challengers and officers alike. However, ASB’s attempts at making Paly dances “cool” again saw some success when the end-of-Spirit-Week homecoming “Big Electronic Dance,” or “B.E.D.,” hosted over 530 students, a significantly greater turnout than previous dances.

Senior Aubrey Dawkins showed off his skills during the slam-dunk competition scoring two out of three in Day Four of Spirit Week. Dawkins went on to win the competition and assist the senior class to their Spirit Week Victory. “I think we did really well,” senior Katy Abbot said. Photo by Cathy Rong


Paly students have continued to feel the impact of the ever-present construction this year. A fire in May caused a minor setback by damaging pipes and equipment. The math and social science building, as well as the media arts building will not be ready for the start of the 2013-2014 school year, as explained here. However, the new entrance and snack shack to the football stadium were up and running for the Viking’s league-clinching season, and the bleachers around the football stadium are currently being replaced.

Paly grads:

Jeremy Lin=Linsanity. No explanation needed. Jim Harbaugh continues to see success as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, and even attended a Friday night home Paly football game. Graduate Jon Huntsman, in a race to be the Republican nominee, dropped out in January this year. Marc Berman, another Paly graduate and journalism student, won a seat on the Palo Alto City Council during the elections.

All in all, 2012 was a prosperous year to be a Paly Viking. With finals approaching, we hope this year in review will help you reflect on all of the great accomplishments, only a handful of which are mentioned in this article, that occurred within the Paly community this calendar year.

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Becca Raffel, Author

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